Death, taxes and UConn field hockey winning Big East titles. For the seventh-straight season, the Huskies have locked up at least a share of the conference regular season title with a 6-3 win at No. 17 Liberty on Saturday.
Senior Svea Boker had eight points on two goals and a career-high four assists, playing a role in every goal scored. Freshman Claire Jandewerth added two goals of her own, the first multi-goal game of her collegiate career.
With just one conference opponent remaining on its schedule, No. 3 UConn (14-3, 6-0 Big East) can at worst tie with No. 16 Old Dominion, which has a 5-1 conference record. The Huskies have now won 19 Big East regular season titles and 38 straight Big East regular season games. The victory also secures a No. 1 seed for UConn in the conference tournament, which begins next Friday.
No. 17 Liberty (9-5, 4-2 Big East) has now dropped two in a row, albeit to two of the top three teams in the country, having lost to No. 1 UNC last weekend.
The Flames got on the scoreboard first at 4:41. UConn’s Kourtney Kennedy hit the turf while battling for possession, and several UConn defenders seemed to stop playing, expecting a call. Meanwhile Liberty’s Jill Bolton alertly dribbled into the circle and fired a shot into the bottom right corner past Huskies keeper Cheyenne Sprecher.
It was the first goal allowed by Sprecher in regulation in four games. Sprecher had an unusually difficult game, allowing as many goals, three, as saves made.
Just 25 seconds later, the Huskies equalized thanks to a Jandewerth penalty corner goal. Liberty pulled in front again in the second quarter, and this time it was Boker who answered with a trademark fantastic finish on a fast break to beat the Liberty keeper.
UConn seized its first lead less than a minute into the second half as senior Antonia Tiedtke took a feed from Boker and snuck one in at the left post. The Flames didn’t go quietly, bringing things back to even at 3-3 on a high-flying deflection off a penalty corner.
Yet once again, the Huskies responded almost immediately. It was Jandewerth once again, this time giving the UConn a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, rattling a shot top-shelf off another penalty corner. UConn tacked on two insurance goals in the fourth on goals from Boker, her team-leading 15th of the season, and junior Vivienne Tucker, her first of the season.
Head coach Nancy Stevens likely won’t be particularly pleased with the three goals allowed, but the Huskies come away with the desired result and a seventh-consecutive regular season title. UConn will wrap up its regular season next weekend with a pair of home matchups. Friday’s tilt against Georgetown will determine if the Huskies will finish with sole possession of the regular season title, and Sunday’s regular season finale will mark Senior Day, as the program celebrates its three seniors, Boker, Tiedtke and goalkeeper Abby Lucas.
Andrew Morrison is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. He tweets @asmor24.